Are You Legally Required to Tell Someone You Have Herpes?
Ryan Bradley | June 1, 2022 | Missouri Law
Some states have criminal statutes that make it illegal to have sexual relations with someone without telling them you have herpes. You are only required to tell the person you have herpes if you engage in sexual conduct. However, Missouri does not have such a law.
Therefore, you are not legally required to tell a person you are infected with the herpes virus before having sex with that person in Missouri. However, you could be sued in Missouri in civil court for damages if you give someone herpes by having sex without telling them you are infected.
What Is Herpes?
Genital herpes is one of the most common forms of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) in the United States. It is caused by one of two herpes viruses.
It is easy to spread herpes through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. You can get herpes from a sexual partner that does not have any visible sores or other symptoms of the infection.
Herpes sores can appear around the mouth, genitals, or rectum. A herpes outbreak can cause painful blisters and flu-like symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for genital herpes. A person with herpes can have repeated outbreaks throughout their lifetime. Touching the sores and then touching other body areas without washing your hands can spread herpes to other areas of your body.
Can I Sue Someone for Giving Me Herpes?
The CDC encourages people with herpes to have open discussions with their sexual partners before engaging in sexual conduct. It might not be illegal to have sex without telling your partner you have herpes, but you are putting that person at risk of contracting an STD.
A Missouri Court of Appeals case in 2000 found that the plaintiff could recover damages after being infected with herpes. However, each case is unique. Therefore, you need to talk to a personal injury lawyer about your case.
Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations. The consultation is also confidential and private. Therefore, you do not need to worry about the lawyer disclosing any information you discuss during the consultation.
What Do I Need to Prove to Win My Case?
If you sue someone for giving you an STD, you have the burden of proving the legal requirements to hold the person liable for damages. Generally, you would need to provide evidence proving:
- The person knew or should have reasonably known that they had the herpes virus
- The person did not tell you that they had herpes before engaging in sexual relations
- You did not know that the person had herpes
- You and the infected person engaged in sexual conduct that could transmit the disease to you
- You contracted herpes from the person and no one else
- Because you contracted herpes, you sustained damages
Your attorney may be able to prove the case by using medical records, your testimony, and statements from the person’s previous sexual partners.
Before proceeding with the lawsuit, discuss the process with the lawyer. If the matter goes to trial, sensitive and personal information must be disclosed in court.
What Damages Could I Recover for a Personal Injury Case Involving Herpes?
Because herpes cannot be cured, the damages caused by contracting the STD can be devastating. For the rest of your life, you may have painful breakouts. You also need to inform each new sexual partner that you have herpes.
- The cost of medical treatment, including prescription medications and over-the-counter medications
- Loss of income if you miss work because of an outbreak or to receive medical care
- The cost of counseling and therapy
- Emotional distress and mental anguish
- Physical pain and suffering
Your attorney may also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded only in specific circumstances. However, your lawyer will analyze the facts of your case to determine if they support an award of punitive damages.
Is There a Deadline for Filing a Herpes Lawsuit in Missouri?
Most personal injury lawsuits must be filed within five years of the date of injury, according to Missouri’s statute of limitations. The time generally begins with the date of injury. However, there could be an exception if you were not aware that you contracted herpes for a period after having sex with an infected partner.
Even though you have five years to file a lawsuit, you should not wait to talk with a lawyer about your case. It could be more difficult to prove your case the longer you wait. The sooner a lawyer can begin gathering evidence to prove your case, the better chance you have of obtaining compensation for your damages.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm For Help Today
For more information, please contact Bradley Law Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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